Sun Grants Global Open Source Community Access to More than 1,600 Patents

Largest Single Grant in Patent History Spurs Software Innovation

Jan 25, 2005, 00:00 ET from Sun Microsystems, Inc.

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sun Microsystems,
 Inc. (Nasdaq:   SUNW) today announced the largest single release of patent
 innovations into the open source community by any organization to date,
 marking a significant shift in the way Sun positions its intellectual property
 portfolio. By giving open source developers free access to Sun(TM) OpenSolaris
 related patents under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL),
 the company is fostering open innovation and establishing a leadership role in
 the framework of a patent commons that will be recognized across the globe.
     "As the largest business contributor to the open source community, Sun has
 always been an ardent believer in open standards and the open source process
 going back to the inception of this company," said Scott McNealy, Chairman and
 CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc.  "The release of more than 1,600 patents
 associated with the Solaris(TM) OS far eclipses any other vendor's
 contribution. Today represents a huge milestone for Sun, for the community,
 for developers and for customers."
     Sun's goal in offering access to these patents is to help facilitate
 innovation and help users get new open source products and technologies to
 market faster without having to obtain patent licenses from Sun.  The new
 approach underscores Sun's belief that license agreements for software are not
 as significant as the company who stands behind its products. Sun is also
 addressing current issues and increased scrutiny in U.S. and international
 patent law which has increasingly granted overly broad patents on abstract
     In removing the emphasis on intellectual-property rights as an inhibitor
 to innovation, Sun is leveling the playing field in key emerging markets and
 helping to revive an innovation system that is straining under a record number
 of patent filings globally. More markets are looking for ways to monetize
 their knowledge economy and patents are becoming the profit center.  With
 growing attention on locking up intellectual property in countries like China
 -- which has seen a five-fold increase in the number of patent filings from
 1991 to 2001 -- Sun is ensuring that software will be available to open source
 developers and that progress continues unabated.
     "By gaining access to these Solaris OS patents, participants in the
 open-source community now have a tremendous opportunity to build unique and
 innovative technologies for a wide range of markets," said Stacey Quandt,
 Senior Business Analyst, Open Source Practice Leader, Robert Frances Group.
 "An IP contribution of this magnitude has the potential to deliver exceptional
 value to developers and strengthens the overall open source community."
     Addressing the patent system that is under siege, Sun's pledge of open
 access reduces the quagmire for developers who previously had to walk through
 a minefield to avoid infringement and enables them to confidently produce
 derivative works without fear of reprisal or patent claims.
     Radically reducing risks associated with using and developing open source
 software, Sun is firmly standing behind our products and the worldwide
 development community. Armed with access to Solaris OS platform intellectual
 property, OpenSolaris developers and customers alike no longer need patent
 protection or indemnity from Sun's and other participants in the OpenSolaris
 community for use of Solaris-based technologies under the CDDL and OpenSolaris
 community process.
     By releasing the OpenSolaris OS platform under the CDDL, the open source
 community will immediately gain access to 1,600 active Sun patents for all
 aspects of operating system technologies that encompass features ranging from
 kernel technology and file systems to network management, to name a few.
 Patents for Sun's newest technologies, such as the anticipated Dynamic Tracing
 technology, will also be available under the open access program.
     Historically, Sun has contributed more code to open source initiatives
 than all other organizations with the exception of UC Berkeley, and remains
 committed to providing engineering support for Apache, Mozilla, Gnome,
 OpenOffice, Grid, JXTA, ODSL and other open source projects. Previously, Sun
 donated the source code of StarOffice(TM) software, which drives the
 OpenOffice suite bundled with most versions of Linux and was awarded a Product
 Excellence Award at the 2004 LinuxWorld Conference & Expo for Best
 Productivity/Business Application.
     About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
     Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The
 Computer(TM)" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. to its position as a
 leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that
 make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the
 World Wide Web at .
     NOTE:  Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, StarOffice and The
 Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun
 Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.
      Mark Richardson
      Sun Microsystems, Inc.
      Jill Ratkevic
      Bite Communications for Sun Microsystems

SOURCE Sun Microsystems, Inc.